These kinds of days are hell; old blood under my nails and someone else's cash in my pocket. It was an easy job, a quick in and out, but it was grueling in a way I didn't expect. The kind of dull eyed acceptance that comes with the work makes my stomach twist, and I must be pretty fucked up to believe that any kind of resistance makes it easier.
Holed away in some bar, just to get away from the shadows on my tail and I'm tired. Some days it's just easier to hide and pretend that everything's okay.
I've gotten pretty good at it, anyways.
Because no one expects the skinny blonde kid to be the one pounding at your door at 3am; the one with a blade sewn into his coat and a lump permanently stuck in his throat. And maybe, deep deep down, there's a part of me that doesn't want to do this anymore. Because it would be so easy just to run, to leave and never look back. But jumping at every shadow and glancing behind my shoulder every minute of every day sounds more like hell than this ever did.
My hands leave the man's waist, a coy smile and a subtle wink, pushing another glass into his hand. He grins and then I'm out, fading into the crowd like I was never there in the first place. Coins jingle in the pocket of my dress and I pass them under the counter to Mr Jackson. He doesn't make eye contact with me. We're too careful for that.
There's a boy sitting a few spots down, too young to be in here, but that doesn't bother me. We get kids like him every now and then, tired, beaten, ready to forget and have a good night. They're all the same, aren't they?
I slide down the bar, my fingers lighting on his shoulder for a minute as I pass behind him and take the next seat over, reminding myself I don't know what he wants yet.
"Hey sugar," I smile faintly, "You look a bit young to be in here." I glance around, shoot him a wink. "I won't tell. Hey, Mr Jackson, next one is on me." I pull out a coin and tap the bar in front of us. Back to the kid.
Something brushes my shoulder and I jolt so hard that my knees hit the bottom of the bar counter. I guess I can't shake these ghosts. My hand drifts to the seam of my coat, violence calling my fingertips like a swan song, but that's not me right now.
"Hey sugar," great "you look a bit too young to be in here."
Like anyone actually gives a shit. A toddler could pay to suckle on a bottle of gin and no one would be the wiser. Beats whatever they decided to give to me when I cried.
A girl sinks down beside me, suffocating, with honey in her voice. She thinks I'm something that I'm not, so maybe I'm not terrible at this pretending thing after all. Doesn't change the fact that she's still here and I can remember how it felt to break a wrist this morning. But another drink finds it's way into my hand so o k a y, elbows on the counter, pretending to be something I'm not and I guess I can play along.
"What's your name, honey?"
asshole bastard cruel entitled bitch ass punk plus everything else I've ever been called and I almost laugh because
what's in a name?
"Dior," I shoot the drink back and pray it does something, there's no such thing as underage anymore, "and I'm no ones's honey."
He jumps, and I guess I should've expected that. The younger ones aren't used to this, to to the close-knit bodies and the pretty girls flickering in and out of view, just out of the corner of their eyes. Some of them just don't like being touched. It's rare, but I get the odd one every now and then. I can live with that. Gives me a bit of a break.
"Dior," he accepts the drink, tips it back without flinching. Is he used to this? Or does he just have a good poker face? He certainly doesn't look like the ones we get regularly. "and I'm no ones's honey."
I raise my eyebrows, hands going up in defeat and bracelets jingling on my wrists. "Alright, Dior it is then."
I give Mr Jackson a nod, and he passed me my own drink, one without the smell of alcohol that hangs heavy in the air around us. Miss Allison doesn't let us have any when we're working.
I take a sip and lean my head sideways against my hand. "What's got you coming in here? You look like you haven't worked a day of your life."
The haze of the room makes my head spin, migraine coming on and all I really want is a good night's sleep for once but "What's got you coming in here?"
Trying to stay out of hell trouble, I guess. Not that I say anything. Snitches get stitches and all that.
She looks like she belongs here, though, nodding at the bartender and surveying the room for prey. Or I guess she'd call them clients. Not that I'm in any place to judge. She probably enjoys her work more than I do, anyways.
"You look like you haven't worked a day of your life."
A sigh and the cash in my pocket burns, my skin is sticky with another man's blood but I think it might all be in my head this time. "You'd be surprised."
I'm not in the mood for these games, counting cracks in the counter top because life is just predictable now, boring and painstakingly numb. But she's pretty enough, young enough too and I can tell she knows her territory well.